Stormers coach praises team for character in Pumas comeback
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CAPE TOWN - Stormers coach John Dobson says his team was ‘well beaten’ in their Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night.
In their 42-37 victory, the Stormers produced a stunning fightback to score four tries in the last quarter after trailing by 23 points with just 18 minutes remaining in the encounter - an encounter the home side thoroughly deserved to win.
The Pumas - who beat the Griquas in impressive style the previous week - was by far the better team on the night. Their kicking game (fullback Devon Williams deserves a special mention for his well-placed kicks) really put the Stormers under pressure and their breakdown was another area in which they were superb.
The visitors didn’t make their evening any easier by allowing their poor handling, which also plagued them against the Lions, to creep into the Mbombela outing as well.
To sum it up, about the only thing the Stormers could really be chuffed about was the character they showed to fight their way back into the match after a big points deficit. That, and the way their replacements performed, playing a big role in John Dobson’s side’s come-from-behind result. After the match, Dobson admitted that the Pumas were the better side.
“Probably the only thing we showed was some character towards the end. I thought we were really well beaten. The Pumas were really outstanding. They probably left two or three tries out there,” he said.
“You can’t coach that sort of character. That came from those guys. We had pulled all of our Springboks off and our next tier really stood up, so I was really proud of them.
“They pinned us really well back into our own half. We also messed up lineout after lineout, so we couldn’t get out of our half. In terms of territory, they dominated us.
“By that stage, we were well beaten so we just had to show some pride in the jersey. We were better than that, which was the message at half time. But with 15 minutes to go, it was the same story. A great train robbery.
The Stormers mentor also gave credit to the bench, who made a real difference when they came on in the second half. “Our substitutes made a massive difference. Nama Xaba, Neethling Fouche the tighthead prop, and JD Schickerling, who probably should have started in retrospect.”
On the injury front, the Stormers will also be hoping that skipper Siya Kolisi’s leg didn’t take too much damage after he left the field in the first half after being cleaned out at a ruck. He will have a scan to assess the extent of the injury. the Bok captain suspects he may have torn his hamstring.